From the water’s edge

Artificial

 Lite

January 2013                                                         it’s all about location - stupid

I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking.

After a rather unproductive fortnight, it looked as though last night’s first snowfall of the year might extend that run of mediocrity to three weeks. We aren’t at all scared of snow and ice, indeed Pete and I had one of our best perch days ever fishing through small unfrozen areas around some lock gates about three years ago.

Unfortunately for me, lure fishing is about confidence and twenty take-less minutes is all that it takes to stifle hope and bring on the no-chance blues. In fact it must have been about three hours before I had my first take. Dibbling around the margins in a previously productive area found me a small blank-saver.

Our two previous visits had been saved, for me at least, by single small fish each time, dibbled from the margins in dirty water, but today something was different - the water was much clearer. As is always the way when I find something that looks promising, I start looking for reasons why it was letting me down and I came to the conclusion that the water was just about clear enough for me to spook fish under the rod tip. Whether that was true or not, I have no firm opinion as yet, but I stopped worrying about it altogether when Pete almost (immediately after I had returned my tiddler) started getting hits from good perch.

He was casting across with an orange 2” kopyto, retrieving them well off bottom at a steady speed. He walked past me, cast out and wallop the first of four one pound plus fish was heading for the bank.

Rather strangely, considering we had struggled for hours to get even a sniff of a take, this one had it right down and took a certain amount of unhooking. How does that work? Nothing else in two miles of canal would even breathe on our baits but this one wanted to eat it so badly it swallowed it straight down? Now I might be slow but I’m not stupid and if one was up on the fin looking for action I figured there was little point in twitching a minute bait around the margins any longer so I went for the lure box and a re-think. Before I even had time to change baits he had another and another; and then a fourth and his biggest at about a pound and a half.

 

Having cast around my swim with no success, I moved past him and chucked a 3” hammer shad across towards a bush on the other bank. Three turns of the handle and I was into a clunker and getting all excited about the weight of what I expected to be a mighty perch; except of course, as you can see it was a not so mighty jack of around three or four pounds. Covered in leeches it clearly hadn’t done much lately but made a special exception for me. I don’t hate pike; I admire them enormously but I don’t want to catch them because they are more trouble than they are worth as far as I am concerned. Pete won’t even let me count them, but I am not that fussy, especially after a couple of near blanks.

At least I was scoring again, but it wasn’t until Pete’s takes dried up and he moved down past me that I caught again. I noticed he hadn’t tried any other colours and I always think that when takes run out a change of colour, bait, size, or even direction of retrieve can bring more fish. I popped on a 2” pearl kopyto, cast up into his abandoned hotspot and immediately caught two more nice fish.

Pete’s best fish (on the right here) was another really nice specimen, but we both thought that my second good perch might go two so we weighed it and it did - exactly. I reckon Pete’s wasn’t far off either and that made a total of six between one and two pounds in perhaps 30 minutes and all from the exact same spot.

Tony Blair might have said that it is all about education, education, education; but he knows bugger all. It is about location, location, location and after that timing. Get in the right place when they are feeding and you can put anything you like on the hook.

We fished two miles of canal today. Not every inch I grant you, but every inch that caught our eye or had previously produced and eventually we ended up in the right spot at the right time. After that it was easy. No headaches, no dramas, just cast out and wind in.

We were helped enormously by the enhanced water clarity and of course we were buzzing with ideas about what to try next week and how to make the most of it.

We needn’t have bothered, on the way back to the car we got chatting to the BW works team moving their gear onto the lock ready to drain the stretch down.

I love my canal fishing, but it is bloody hard most of the time, and as soon as you learn something useful, along they come and remove all the water and the fish. Obviously the perch aren’t going to suffer the same fate that so many zander have in the past, but the killer blow is that next time, we will have to start solving all those location issues again. In the immortal words of that famous rugby song of old -round and round went the bloody great wheel.

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